You’ll do enjoyable, satisfying and much-need work in less advantaged countries, or you’ll be gaining valuable experience during your Work Experience internship. Or if you’re doing a course, you’ll be learning on site in a new culture. You’ll meet lots of new people. You’ll be well looked after and have opportunities to travel and explore.
We’ve described below what you can expect once you decide to book a placement to go overseas with Amka Afrika, both before you go and once you arrive in the country you’ve chosen.
On receipt of your application, the Amka Afrika Project Co-coordinator for the country you’ve chosen will liaise with you about your placement. They will discuss with you what you hope to gain out of your project and will then ensure that you and your project are mutually suitable. Once the placement has been arranged to suit your requirements we’ll confirm your placement (subject to approval and your reference) and you’ll be sent the relevant documentation needed to get the ball rolling. We’ll liaise with you and we’re available to answer any of your questions during the preparation for your trip.
Once you’ve applied, we take out insurance against insolvency for you. Details of this are further down the page.
As your departure draws near, you’ll also receive details of your accommodation and hosts as well as contact information to give to your family and friends so that they can keep in touch with you. We’ll also provide you with the contact details of other volunteers who will be going out around the same time as you so that you can contact each other before you leave. If we are arranging your flights, we will do our best to put you on the same flight as another volunteer so that you have company on the trip over.
A sad tale: Unfortunately, we get quite a few emails like this one – “Hi, I wonder if you could help. I paid a lot of money towards a company in Kenya I thought was legitimate to do a conservation project. It turns out that they are big fat con men. I have already booked my flights from September 1st until October 2nd. I really don’t know what to do. I have already had all my injections etc so it will be silly to go back on everything and not go at all. Would you be able to fit me in with you guys … I saved everything I had and lost it. I will do anything!!”
Our Promise: By choosing Amka Afrika you have the reassurance of knowing you’re with a genuine organization with more years’ experience and many thousands of happy volunteers who have had excellent, worthwhile projects – we’ll look after you right through to the end of your project.
Most of our Volunteers make life-long friends with their hosts, with their students and their work colleagues and in many cases they visit each other after their placements have finished. This is one of the many exciting aspects of our programmes and one of the most satisfying!
Unless otherwise stated, all your accommodation and food is included in your programme and in most cases your meals are cooked and provided for you. The type of accommodation and the standard can vary depending on location and type of project you’re doing. Sometimes it can be quite luxurious and at others it can be more spartan and basic, but in all cases we ensure that it’s clean and safe. Amka Afrika uses many different types of accommodation, for example.
In some of our destinations you live with a local family. Some families will merely house and feed you and leave you to your own devices, but most families will ‘adopt’ you and make you an integrated part of their household. On the other hand, in some of our destinations you could live in a Amka Afrika house with 5 to 15 other volunteers – you’re surrounded by people who are just as excited as you are to be there! Many volunteers get together in groups to spend weekends exploring the country.
On some projects volunteers live in dormitories or rooms on a school campus and take their meals with the children and staff. You may also share an apartment with another Amka Afrika volunteer or you could even stay for a short while in a hotel. You may stay for your entire placement in a Guest House. On some conservation projects you could be camping on-site – it all depends on where you are and what programme you’re doing.
All your food will be provided, unless otherwise stated. If you’re in an apartment or sharing with other volunteers, you may have to do your own shopping and cooking, and in this case you’ll be given a weekly or monthly budget to use as you wish for your food. The budget will be sufficient to cover basic meals, but won’t include enough for 5-star dining or wine or beer. In most Amka Afrika houses or in host families food is almost always provided and cooked for you. Food is usually local cuisine – if you are in Sri Lanka or India, you will eat rice, curries, and other local dishes, in South Africa, and you may have lots of BBQ’s!
If you’re a vegetarian or have any allergies, this is taken into account when we arrange your placement. One of the joys of travelling is sampling the cuisine. Eating out in most of our destinations is very cheap and in South Africa, for example, barbecues are a way of life!
You can either book your own international flights or we can help you to arrange all your travel. In either event, we’ll meet you at the nearest airport so that you are met by a friendly face on arrival. Amka Afrika is not a travel agent. If we arrange your flights for you, we liaise on your behalf with our Travel Agents, who are ABTA and IATA registered, to book your flights and to have the tickets sent to you so that you receive them before you leave.
We will, where possible, send two or more people on the same flight and we will give you the names and telephone numbers of the other volunteers on your flight so that you can chat or even meet up before leaving. Most of our volunteers take time to travel around once they have completed their placement. Many volunteers also use their weekends and free time to do some sightseeing. Very often you’ll be part of a group of volunteers doing the same project as you. If you prefer to be located rurally, far away from other countrymen, we can probably arrange that too!
Some countries don’t require visas, but for those that do you’ll need to apply and pay for your visa yourself. We’ll send you all the necessary forms and information and we’ll try to make the process very easy for you. Some countries require official invitations and other require Immigration Documents – again, we’ll provide those for you and make the process easy. If you live outside the UK, we will give you as much advice and information on what to do as possible, and in some cases we may even be able to send you the necessary forms for applying for your visa.
If you need to extend your visa while on your placement, our local staff will help you as much as possible, but you will have to pay for your visa extension yourself.
It is a requirement that all volunteers take out insurance. You may prefer to arrange this yourself or we can arrange it for you through End sleigh, the insurance company that we use. In either event, we will send you the relevant information on the type of insurance you need and any necessary forms and paperwork.